GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL AID
– Employee benefits programs –
Thank you to all of you who continue to be faithful in your tithing to the District.
We are certainly living in interesting days, and we are praying for each of you as we navigate these waters together.
Some of you have asked about the method for tithing — can you continue to send cheques etc. The answer is YES, please continue to do use whatever method of giving you have used in the past. The District continues to receive mail, online giving and direct deposits.
Many of you are asking about the programs available from the government to assist businesses (including Charities). The details are coming from the government slowly. However, due to the number of requests for information I have received, I will share with you what we know so far.
– Regarding Employment (Employees) –
There are currently three programs that could be interesting to the churches.
Here is a quick outline of what we know — thanks to those helping me compile information. We will continue to keep you up to date as information becomes available.
Receive 75 % of payroll
This program is NOT yet available but should come online in 3-6 weeks.
The key things we’ve picked up are:
- All organizations that show a loss of 30% or more in revenue compared to the same month in 2019 qualify (March–May).
- If you do not have a 30%+ loss, and you have less than 18 employees, then the 10% subsidy will still apply to you (and you can withhold paying the CRA federal tax remittances up to Dec. 2019 to reclaim the 10%).
- For those who do have a loss of at least 30%:
a. They must apply for the subsidy each month separately (ie. each month they have to provide documentation of the 30% loss for that particular month).
b. The CRA will pay 75% of salary, capped at $847/wk. The employer must show they did their best to pay the other 25% (and if the employee makes more than $58,700 per year, presumably they are allowed to pay the full salary)
c. The portal to submit monthly applications will be launched on the CRA – Revenu Canada Portal within the next 3-6 weeks, and they will get money out after that ASAP.
d. They strongly recommended that anyone applying should also get set up with the CRA for direct deposit if they aren’t already, as that is the primary way they will be sending money to employers. This is something that could be done while people are waiting for the portal to open.
It seems that parliament will have to re-open to approve this program. That means there could potentially be some changes made.
This should be the best program for churches to keep staff right now, as long as they’re sure that their revenue will drop by 30%.
Here are some links for further information
– Click link 1
– Click link 2 (This page is only available in English)
Canada Emergency Response Benefit ($2000 for employees)
This program is for individuals who have lost their jobs or have been laid off
– Click link
Temporary Layoffs and employees collect EI
This is the standard EI program. However, you could register for the Supplementary program if you would like to “top up” your employees’ EI benefits during a temporary layoff.
– Click link
You can add EI subprogram
– Click link (This page is only available in English)
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.
Considering layoffs — Please wait.
I’m sending this out ahead of time and without all the information because I want to encourage any church that has considered laying off staff to wait.
Today Prime Minister Trudeau promises that the 75% wage subsidy for businesses would extend to non-profits and charities.
We are continuing to gather information and will give you more information as it becomes available. In my next email, I hope to outline the financial assistance that is available to churches and, in particular, the options for dealing with payroll and staff.
One positive that I can mention is regarding our Group insurance – here is the announcement from Kechnie Insurance:
- PREMIUM HOLIDAY – your premiums for Health, Dental & Vision (where applicable) will not be billed for the month of April, which represents approximately 70% of the cost of your program.
- POOLED PREMIUMS – will only be billed for Life/Dependent Life/LTD – Long Term Disability/CI – Critical Illness, which ensures that we do not disrupt any payroll setting, as these premiums have taxable consequences. These premiums represent approximately 30% of the cost of your program.
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times.
– The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.
– All district activities scheduled until May 31 have been cancelled or postponed.
– Following the government’s recommendations, the District of Quebec offices are closed until April 13.
– We remain at your disposal via our social networks and the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently I have had some questions about resources available to our churches and in particular about ONLINE GIVING.
The following is by no means exhaustive – but it may help.
While I am not an expert and cannot say what is best for your particular situation, here is some information that I trust will be helpful.
Here are a few of the services out their, listed in no particular order. There are also others.
These two will do tax receipts for you:
- Square https://squareup.com also offers both in person and online payments with credit and debit cards.
In my experience Canada Helps is the fastest to setup – but not cheapest.
PayPal is the best value.
And Square allows you to take credit cards in person by swiping.
For other church resources
I would recommend a look at: https://paoc.org/church-toolbox.
Important release: COVID-19
Dear credential holders,
A month ago, it would have been hard to imagine that our province and our country would take extreme measures in the midst of the COVID-19 WORLD PANDEMIC. As we watch the increase in reported cases day after day, our government leaders are asking us to join in an effort to “smooth the curve” in the spread of this disease.
Reactions to this crisis have been mixed. Some believe it is an overreaction; others believe more needs to be done.
Paul, John and I will be contacting you by phone to check in on you and, together, to find the best way to support one another during this unprecedented situation. We recognize that, as leaders, you are in the best position to make decisions that are appropriate to your local context.
1. No public gatherings
The Public Health Agency of Canada National Director recommends the following: With regard to places of worship, all religious gatherings of any denomination should ideally be suspended, unless they are essential. In this case, social distancing should be observed.
Because of these guidelines and the fact that many of our congregations have a number of older people, we recommend that churches close all services and gatherings until further notice.
The District leadership also recommends that there should be no small group gatherings. However, if they are absolutely necessary, they should be very brief and follow the public health guidelines of the two-meter social distancing.
2. Encourage other ways of celebrating
If you have the technology, organize online services such as Facebook Live or video.
Encourage your congregation to organize family worship times. Family worship was once a common practice among Christian families throughout the week, even with participation in Sunday worship.
3. Keep in touch with your congregation
Take this opportunity to call, email or send social media messages to your congregation. This will reassure and encourage people. Take this opportunity to pray with them.
4. Postpone annual members meetings
If you have not yet had your annual business meeting, wait until public meetings are allowed again.
5. Set up online giving
Now is the time to set up other ways to give. There are different ways to donate, such as Canadahelps, PayPal, etc.
6. Reach out to the elderly
This is a good time to offer service to the elderly in your church and community who may need help with shopping and other needs.
7. A call to prayer
Finally, let us call our congregations to pray for the wisdom of government authorities, both federal and provincial, who are leading us through this difficult time. Let us also pray for our front-line health care workers who are sacrificing themselves to serve us in this health crisis.
Let us lead our assemblies calmly and confidently, knowing our God. Let us be responsible Christians who care for those around us with love and sacrificial concern.
Knowing that his friends would soon be confronted with unprecedented difficulties, Jesus said in John 14.27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
May the peace and wisdom of Christ fill your hearts at this time as you lead your congregation in this unique season.
If we can be of help in any way, do not hesitate to contact us.
Reminder of copyright standards
We are aware that a number of churches have chosen to cancel services. Some of these will turn to video broadcasting online through various means.
We would like to remind you that it is a copyright violation to broadcast music performances if you do not have the performances rights (license) this includes your worship service. If you chose to broadcast the worship you MUST have the licensed rights to do so. Exceptions to this are for some of the older hymns where copyrights have expired due to age or song that you own people have written.
To avoid a situation similar to that of Italy, one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legault government has just issued new procedures to be followed (article link).
The Quebec District wishes to apply these measures and we urge you to do the same.
– They ask organizers to cancel all events that may attract crowds of more than 250 people and to do the same for all other large gatherings that are not considered essential.
– They also encourage all those returning from a trip abroad to isolate themselves for 14 days.
– They advise people to stay home and call 811 if they detect the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or chest pain, severe diarrhea or vomiting, and unusually severe fatigue.
One of our churches has already taken action by communicating the following message (shortened) to its congregation:
Just a quick note to let you know that the leadership team is following the current coronavirus situation with great attention. The situation is changing rapidly and has just moved to a new level.
Here is a simple summary:
1) Anyone who has travelled outside the country within the last 14 days, even without symptoms, is invited to remain voluntarily isolated at home for 14 days (please refer to the attached document).
2) Anyone who has travelled out of the country within the last 14 days and who has flu-like symptoms should call 811.
Those who have not travelled out of the country and who are not sick are obviously welcome to attend our meetings. We will have hand sanitizers available for you and we will have fraternal hugs from a distance, but the heart and good mood will be there for sure!
Please know that as a church we believe it is important to comply with these recommendations, not out of fear or paranoia, but out of sincere concern to do what is right in the face of the current situation. We will keep you informed of any changes. Thank you for your cooperation and prayers.
Hoping to have answered most of your questions, do not hesitate to call 811 for more information.
By calling 811, you will know where to go to get tested and what instructions to follow.
Stay in isolation at home until the test result is returned.
(Please refer to the attached very well done document).